Examine uncovers new mechanism to elucidate how weight problems jeopardizes the capabilities of skeletal muscle

A decline in metabolism and endurance of skeletal muscle is often noticed in overweight sufferers, however the underlying mechanism just isn’t well-understood.

A analysis crew led by Dr Chi Bun CHAN, Assistant Professor from Faculty of Organic Sciences, School of Science, the College of Hong Kong (HKU), uncovers a brand new mechanism to elucidate how weight problems jeopardizes the capabilities of skeletal muscle and offers a possible remedy towards the illness. The analysis findings have not too long ago been revealed in world-leading scientific journal Autophagy.

Weight problems is a metabolic dysfunction with rising prevalence in trendy society. Since Seventies, the worldwide variety of overweight individuals has trebled and reached 650 million (~ 13% of the overall international inhabitants) in 2016. It’s extensively identified that weight problems provokes detrimental outcomes in a number of human organs and causes quite a few power issues comparable to diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver ailments, and atherosclerosis.

Fats metabolism within the skeletal muscle of overweight sufferers is slower than that of wholesome individuals, which scientists consider is a consequence of irregular capabilities in mitochondria (the powerhouses of a cell that convert vitamins into organic power). Nevertheless, how weight problems impairs the exercise of mitochondria is an extended unresolved query.

To review the purposeful impacts of weight problems on the skeletal muscle, Dr Chan’s crew developed a particular obesified mouse mannequin by eradicating the gene of brain-derived neurotrophic issue (BDNF) completely of their skeletal muscle. BDNF is initially recognized as an vital progress issue for sustaining the survival and actions of neurons. Latest research have proposed that BDNF can also be a muscle-secreted protein (i.e., myokine), however its physiological significance is unknown.

For the primary time, Dr Chan’s crew discovered that weight problems decreased the quantity of BDNF within the skeletal muscle of mice. In addition they noticed that the mice with out BDNF of their muscle, known as ‘MBKO’ (Muscle-specific BDNF Knockout), gained extra physique weight and developed severer insulin resistance when the animals have been fed with a high-fat weight loss program. As well as, the analysis crew discovered that MBKO mice have much less power expenditure than their management cohort.

Utilizing plenty of biochemical, histological, metabolomic, and molecular analyses, the analysis crew additional demonstrated that the mitochondria within the muscle of MBKO mice have been unable to recycle, resulting in the buildup of broken mitochondria within the tissues. Consequently, the lipid metabolism within the muscle of MBKO mice was retarded, inflicting extra lipid accumulation to intrude with insulin sensitivity.

Clearly, muscle-derived BDNF is a weight-control protein by rising the power expenditure and sustaining insulin sensitivity. BDNF has lengthy been thought of a brain-localized peptide, and its significance in peripheral tissues has been underestimated. Our research offers a brand new perception to this space, and hopefully we will unlock extra capabilities of this myokine utilizing our MBKO mice.”

Dr Chi Bun CHAN, Assistant Professor from Faculty of Organic Sciences, School of Science, the College of Hong Kong

Along with the animal research, Dr Chan’s crew additionally utilized cultured cell fashions to pinpoint the molecular mechanism for the faulty mitochondrial turnover in BDNF-deficient muscle cells. They discovered that muscle-secreted BDNF used AMPK-activated protein kinase, the well-known power sensor in cells, to set off the Parkin/PINK1 pathway for inducing mitophagy (a extremely regulated mechanism to recycle the supplies in cells in response to varied challenges) in skeletal muscle.

To increase these findings to therapeutic utility, the analysis crew additional examined if restoring the BDNF signaling in muscle would rescue the obesity-induced mitochondrial harm. They fed the overweight mice with 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, a pure bioavailable BDNF mimetic in vegetation (discovered within the leaves of Godmania aesculifolia, a plant species in South America) presently used within the scientific trials of Alzheimer’s illness, and located that obesity-induced mitochondrial dysfunction was alleviated.

Along with their earlier findings that 7,8-DHF is an efficient agent in lowering physique weight and enhancing the insulin sensitivity in overweight mice (Chem Biol 2015 22: 355-369; Metabolism 2018 87: 113-122), Dr Chan’s work offers a brand new rationalization on the pernicious nature of weight problems and means that BDNF-signaling enhancer comparable to 7,8-DHF is a possible drug for weight problems remedy in human beings.


The College of Hong Kong

Journal reference:

Ahuja, P., et al. (2021) Muscle-generated BDNF (mind derived neurotrophic issue) maintains mitochondrial high quality management in feminine mice. Autophagy. doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.1985257.

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